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I got notification that my mic upgrade kit has shipped USPS Priority Mail today.
Should be here Saturday probably.

Don't have a donor mic yet, planning on posting on craigslist in Bellingham and see if anybody has one. I'd love to find a broken one, all I need is the shell, the grille and the XLR end. The rest gets replaced.


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Brief update. Friday the kit arrived. It looks nice, the instructions are clear and cover everything.
I still need to do a parts match to the instructions - gotta get a magnifier, the lettering on tiny parts is sub-tiny!!!!
Will try to get one early this week.

Posted an ad on local craigslist looking for a beat up or broken MXL 990. One offer for a very clean, nice one - not a bad deal but not as cheap as I would like.
Following eBay, Guitar Center used didn't have anything I wanted either by the time you add shipping and tax.

Meanwhile, I carefully dis-assembled an MXL 1006 BP that I found at Value Village for $24. It can't use the 990EF kit, wrong body shape. It was an opportunity to see if the Mic-Parts condenser capsules will fit in that mic and they will. I also got careful measurements of the exact size of the main circuit board (there's a little one up under the capsule too). I have center to center measurements for the mounting holes.

FWIW, as I disconnected various parts of the microphone, I carefully put the mounting screws back in the place from whence they came. This will be much less confusing later!!!!!

Matt has included a 100% full size .pdf file of the actual circuit board with every circuit board option so you can check to see if it will fit beforehand. Nice. I think I can work with anything that is exact size or smaller.
After I finish up the 990 kit and evaluate it, I'll probably get a different capsule and circuit board and build another mic. That was the main reason I bought this MXL at the thrift store, it works but it doesn't sound great and it seems to be a bit noisy. I know I'll never use it, I bought it with a Mic-Parts build in mind but the 990 kit has moved to first in line.

That's all for now.


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Last night I pulled the trigger on an MXL 990. Paid a little more than I was hoping but my overall cost is still very low and I wanted to get this project going. $72 with shipping and tax. Will come Priority Mail, should have later this week.

Most of the offerings included an MXL 991, a small diaphragm condenser mic. I didn't want it, someday I'll get a pair of SDC that I actually want.
The one I decided on included the case, the metal mic clip, the shockmount, a Rode pop filter and a mic cable, all stuff I can use at least.

Build will be next and probably soon.


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I was asked to play a parking lot party last night, it was all flat and our bassist gave me a ride (I am still recovering from foot surgery, cannot put weight on my right foot).

I've got my KSM8 set up and dialed in for recording, pop filter and all. I didn't feel like tearing it down and putting it back up.
So I took a CAD D-90 I picked up recently for $22 delivered and put an EV 767ND in the pouch for backup.
Everybody said the CAD sounded good so that's my new gig mic. It's probably nothing to write home about but it did the job and I won't have to worry about it when I am on break.

You only want to have 3 SM58s disappear off the mic stands on stage when your back is turned once!


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Some of you may have noticed that this thread is not about "Only a $20,000 Telefunken E lan 251 is good enough and just barely."

This is about all of us out here in the real world, where you can find sub $100 mics that are much better than not having them. I've spent a few bucks on mics a couple of times and it's nice but only if you chose the right mic for your environment, the sounds you want to make and the sound you make because you sing just like you.

Lots of choices, some of you should feel safe chiming in on the mics you use!!! smile This is a safe place for that if ever there was one.

And, if you do insist on the Telefunken, by all means jump in as well. Sure, I'd love one!!! Gotta win that lottery first I guess.


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Well, I'll try to think of what I have on the shelf. I have more than one of several mics, not as stereo pairs as such, but just because if one mic is good for a particular application, it might be good for something else, too. I don't believe I have any "one trick" mics.

EV 654 (my first good microphone, used it with my Ampex A-122 and 600 recorders)
Shure SM 57
Beyer M260
Beyer M260 with a Stephen Sank RCA 77DX style ribbon
Beyer M160
Beyer M88
AKG C451 (cardioid and omni capsules)
AKG D224
AKG C414 B-ULS
AKG D12
Sennheiser MD421
Echolette that's supposedly the same as a Sennheiser 409
Fostex M55RP
Cascade Fathead
MXL 990
MXL 991
Audio Technica AT812
Audio Technica 813
Shure SM-11
AKG C-567
Neumann U87
Neumann KM84
Samar A95
TZ Stellar X2
Studio Projects LSD-2
A Crown measurement microphone
Sony ECM-21 (my first condenser microphone - bought in Japan for $25 equivalent in 1969, half the price in the US)
Radio Shack PZM


That's a pretty long list from a guy who can't remember what he ate for breakfast this morning. I'l look to see what I missed but the mics are at the other end of the house from where this computer is.

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That's a nice stash, Sir Mike!!!

If you could only have 5 of those mics, which ones would you pick?


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Two U87s, two KM84s, and I'd trade one of my two D224s for an RE-20.

Why? Because with one or the other - or either - ofthe Neumanns, I can make a good good recording of anything, in mono, X-Y stereo (KM84s), M-S stereo (a U87 in figure-8 and a KM84), Blumlein stereo (U87s in figure-8). Also, although I've never done it, record like Bruce Swedien recorded some of Michael Jackson's vocals with two U87s in omni. I'd break up the pair of D224s or one of the Sennheiser MD421s to trade it for or toward most of an RE20.

I originally bought the D224s for stereo recording with a cassette recorder with no phantom power, and I have no further need for that, but it's still a nice "universal" mic. I used to have three MD421s, but one disappeared after a gig, and I never use those as a pair, just one here and another there. I don't record drums with too many mics so I wouldn't miss the third one there, and I've always wanted to have an RE20, another great universal mic, but I just never found one at a price I was willing to pay without having a specific use for it. I suspect that for miking a group, an RE20 might get more use than another MD421, since it would work well in places where the MD421 is OK, but there might be a better choice.

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Originally Posted by Mike Rivers
Two U87s, two KM84s, and I'd trade one of my two D224s for an RE-20.

Why? Because with one or the other - or either - ofthe Neumanns, I can make a good good recording of anything, in mono, X-Y stereo (KM84s), M-S stereo (a U87 in figure-8 and a KM84), Blumlein stereo (U87s in figure-8). Also, although I've never done it, record like Bruce Swedien recorded some of Michael Jackson's vocals with two U87s in omni. I'd break up the pair of D224s or one of the Sennheiser MD421s to trade it for or toward most of an RE20.

I originally bought the D224s for stereo recording with a cassette recorder with no phantom power, and I have no further need for that, but it's still a nice "universal" mic. I used to have three MD421s, but one disappeared after a gig, and I never use those as a pair, just one here and another there. I don't record drums with too many mics so I wouldn't miss the third one there, and I've always wanted to have an RE20, another great universal mic, but I just never found one at a price I was willing to pay without having a specific use for it. I suspect that for miking a group, an RE20 might get more use than another MD421, since it would work well in places where the MD421 is OK, but there might be a better choice.


That's a great list too and sensible. I am a big fan of large diaphragm moving coil dynamic mics, I would love an EV RE20 and I'd love to try the RE27, which is similar but has a neodymium magnet.
I do have a Heil PR40 which would be great for the purpose you've listed for the RE20, a Peavey 520i (don't laugh, it's a great mic in the right place - kick drum or bass guitar amp) and recently, an Aston Element which as far as I can tell is a large diaphragm moving coil dynamic mic. The Aston is awesome and was designed from the get-go to be an all rounder. I think you could use it on anything and get a good sound.


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It's always fascinating to read these discussions of mics used on multiple sources, as I've been out of studios since the pandemic and my current work requires me to record nearly nothing but voiceovers.

My mic locker is small and lies largely unloved, carefully packed in their cases, but I continue to randomly swap out my voiceover mics to see if there's any one that I truly like better than all the others.


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Originally Posted by Dr Mike Metlay
It's always fascinating to read these discussions of mics used on multiple sources, as I've been out of studios since the pandemic and my current work requires me to record nearly nothing but voiceovers.

My mic locker is small and lies largely unloved, carefully packed in their cases, but I continue to randomly swap out my voiceover mics to see if there's any one that I truly like better than all the others.

I have a wonderful singer to try vocal mics on, she has a great ear as well as a great voice. I'll have a couple of new ones for her to check out soon. The Mic Parts kit is coming along, last night I bent some leads and soldered a few parts, tonight I will do more.
And this morning I had an offer on eBay to buy a Groove Tubes GT55 cardioid LDC microphone for $103 delivered. That model was only sold by Guitar Center and eventually went from $599 to $399 when they closed it out. Hugh Robjohns did a Sound on Sound review of the GT mics and he liked all of them - even at the higher prices they listed for, so I hit the go button and that will be here Tuesday.

Plus - we've hit 32,000+ views on this thread. That's pretty awesome, all y'all are invited to come on in and post something!!!! smile


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I' be back with some photos and my impressions of the Microphone Parts MXL 990EF and and the RK47 capsule in a day or two.
The mic is finished, it works great and it sounds SMOOOOOTH!!!!

I need to do more testing and snap of a couple of shots of tools I found handy. I made a couple of mistakes, will run through those as well so others can avoid them.

Last edited by KuruPrionz; 07/28/21 01:37 AM.

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Okay, more on the MXL 990 Mic Parts kit.

I haven't plugged the mic back in since the initial test Sunday evening. Too busy, will do it soon.

I thought I would share some things about building the mic. First up, the support from Microphone Parts in terms of the included instruction manual and the build video for this specific project that is posted on their website, is excellent. In fact, it's so good I didn't see any point in photographing the process. Here is the build video.



As you can see, Matt has considerable experience building mics. I can tell you it was not as easy or as fast for me when I built mine but I was patient and got it done. I had a couple of fairly minor mishaps, nothing that couldn't be fixed with a triggered vacuum type solder sucker. I poked around in my stuff and did not locate the solder wick I know I have but that would be good to have on hand.

I planned on using the Weller soldering station I just bought but the tip wasn't the best choice. I ordered another tip, it arrived today. A little clean up on the station and it will be good for a few more decades, longer than I'll be around. Meanwhile, I was searching for something to hold and stabilize the circuit board, a light and a magnifier that could be adjusted to stay in an ideal position. SEE ATTACHED PHOTO.

I found this Radio Shack soldering station on eBay, it is also available elsewhere: https://www.ebay.com/itm/1746884559...msclkid=f81ae4e12e10167d6a3d85e1830e708e

It even came with a 15 watt soldering iron with a great tip for this type of soldering. See the attached photo, that is the board I took out of the MXL, not the Mic Parts board. Note the wood block underneath it and the clothespins that I clipped into the alligator clips. I knew the clothespins could not harm the board or components in any way and the block keeps the pc board solidly in an easy to work on position.
I did use the included soldering iron for the entire but being left handed I kept it in the holder on the Weller station, to the left of the board. If you are right handed the iron holder supplied with the Radio Shack kit should work well for you.

I used Kester 44 .032 solder, thin and you can buy a small amount for just a few bucks. The two tools I got by without that I really wish I had were A. a good wire stripper and B. a small, flush cut pair of diagonal cutters.

Ventilation is recommended so I chose to work on my stove top since there is a vent fan right there. That worked fine.

Bending the leads is something that took a couple of tries at first and then I got the hang of it and did well.
You do want to bend the leads in a way that shows what the value of the resistor is, the magnifiers are very helpful here.

FWIW, after cataract surgery I no longer have the closeup vision I used to have. The lenses in my eyes are for distance and my prescription close-up glasses are not intended for these short distances. Good magnification is something I've learned to work with but that was disorienting at first.

I think most of us with decent hand to eye coordination and a little experience soldering could build one of these kits. You do need patience, especially if you make a mistake. For me the best thing to do at that point is to stop, set it aside and do something else for a while. This allows a sensible solution to seep into my brain.

I will also note that I happened to buy one of the mics that has the circuit board spaced in a way that you will need to flip it over to fit it inside the mic. Both sides of the connections from the capsule and the XLR are marked so it isn't that difficult. I would leave a little more wire on the capsule leads if I ever did this again, it's just a bit easier. 1/2" more would be plenty.

It may be a couple of months down the road but I am all in for another build and I already have an MXL 1006BP I found at Value Village for $24 so all I need is a board and a capsule. I've chosen those but I plan on learning more about the kit for the MXL2006 since it looks like the same body and the board might be a good choice.

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Jumping around a bit but - today I took delivery on a Groove Tubes GT55 large diaphragm condenser mic.
It was priced well, the seller has great feedback and then he sent me an offer that totaled $103 with tax and shipping so I got it.

It works as it should and it sounds very nice, great condition too. I will use it and smile.


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Yesterday I bought an Electro Voice Raven mic and another Neat King Bee. I know the King Bee is a nice microphone, the price has gone up but I did pretty well in that regard - $149 plus tax.

I'll be back after I've played with the Raven to report on it's sound.


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To follow up on this:

I have been using my (relatively) new Vanguard V13 tube condenser for a song, and even the scratch tracks sound lovely! The mic offers big value for the money ($800); it sounds great on baritone voice; it has many patterns remotely-controlled on the power supply and it appears to be very well built. The metal shock mount is an absolute beast, and it fits well on my standard K&M boom stand with the assistance of a small counterweight.

Highly recommended.

Claus.

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Thanks Claus, I really appreciate the stellar review!

That looks like a splendid microphone - https://www.vanguardaudiolabs.com/products/v13-tube-condenser/

It never ends, this gear lust thing. At this point, my best condenser mic is my Mic-Parts MXL990 kit that I built. The capsule provides a clear sound but the highs are not over-emphasized, similar to the description of the Vanguard.

There is a place for bright condenser mics, they can really make percussion or an acoustic guitar sparkle. Vocals are less forgiving, I quickly discovered that I make some horrendous high frequency sounds if the mic is sensitive enough to pick them up.


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KP,

The brightness bit is one that has been pushed so much in ads that I have a feeling a number of folks may think that "bright" is automatically "better"...the high-mid emphasis has its place, but if you stack any number of tracks without keeping that in mind, you now get a pile of increasing sizzle in a section of frequencies that can be hard to work with or listen to. The hyper-compressed "smiley curve" mixes in cars and on phones don't help either, in terms of people thinking that is "quality audio".

I had one experience with my Neumann 184 mics which were bought for guitar and such. Even on nylon strings, they brought out unpleasant details, and overall they just had too much color off-axis (as opposed to just volume drop), so I sold them, and never regretted it.

Since then, my goals for my humble home setup has been: large dia tube mic (the V13) for lush vocals, flat-freq small condensers and a pair of 414XLRs for instruments and, maybe, backup vocals, and a pair of Fathead ribbons for "that sound" when I want it. I have a few others as well, including a 57, but the "front line" that I want to work with is what I describe above. I find I would rather start slightly warmer than needed and go up, instead of the other way. Given the consumer Tascam DP24 and its converters, I find it a more "ear-friendly" route.

Of course, everyone has different needs and projects.

C.

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Originally Posted by Claus H
KP,

The brightness bit is one that has been pushed so much in ads that I have a feeling a number of folks may think that "bright" is automatically "better"...the high-mid emphasis has its place, but if you stack any number of tracks without keeping that in mind, you now get a pile of increasing sizzle in a section of frequencies that can be hard to work with or listen to. The hyper-compressed "smiley curve" mixes in cars and on phones don't help either, in terms of people thinking that is "quality audio".

I had one experience with my Neumann 184 mics which were bought for guitar and such. Even on nylon strings, they brought out unpleasant details, and overall they just had too much color off-axis (as opposed to just volume drop), so I sold them, and never regretted it.

Since then, my goals for my humble home setup has been: large dia tube mic (the V13) for lush vocals, flat-freq small condensers and a pair of 414XLRs for instruments and, maybe, backup vocals, and a pair of Fathead ribbons for "that sound" when I want it. I have a few others as well, including a 57, but the "front line" that I want to work with is what I describe above. I find I would rather start slightly warmer than needed and go up, instead of the other way. Given the consumer Tascam DP24 and its converters, I find it a more "ear-friendly" route.

Of course, everyone has different needs and projects.

C.

We do indeed have different needs and projects. We also have different opportunities and budgets. This is to say nothing of the variety of ideas that even one person can come up with on their own, let alone a group that meets online like Music Player Network.

My current favorite mic overall is a Shure KSM8, it is a close to being without fault as a dynamic mic can get. Dual diaphragm but the second diaphragm is passive. The cardioid pattern is very consistent in all possible ways which means sounds coming from the side sound more or less the same as they would straight in. That can be helpful if the vocalist likes to move around. The proximity effect is closer to that of an omni mic, very controlled. It doesn't get that "big boomy" sound an SM58 gets if you sing too close and it doesn't thin out if you are back a little either.

It's just very easy to use and sounds good on everybody. I've been recording acoustic guitar with a pair of Neat Worker Bees and that's been a good sound for me. It doesn't hurt that my acoustic guitars are both Rainsongs, they sound amazing to start with.

I'm enjoying my Aston Element, I haven't tried it on many things but it sounds good on everything I've tried.

I'm planning on building a couple more Microphone Parts upgrade kits, I have another MXL mic I got cheap at the thrift store. It isn't a great sounding mic and it's noisy besides. Mic Parts offers 3 different capsules with more to come and quite a few different circuits. They even have tube mic kits that include all parts and components needed. It's high end stuff, all of it. You can save a lot of money if you can solder and like to work on projects. The instructions were flawless, that helps.

Beyond mics, lately I've been adding some other gear. I want to get the sounds going in instead of adding plugins later. I know reality will lie somewhere in the middle and that's OK too. Drums are "interesting" in a smallish condo that shares a wall and a ceiling, I've been developing a way of working for that. Trial and error, as long as you are learning you will improve.

Please feel free to hang around here and chat about recording any time. Cheers, Kuru

Last edited by KuruPrionz; 09/17/21 11:06 PM.

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The Neat King Bee and Electrovoice Raven arrived. Both are fully functional.
I swapped in a pair of King Bees where I had Worker Bees to see how they are on acoustic guitar. The King Bee is a versatile mic, sounds very good. The highs are a bit much and need EQ. I have a couple of dead cats I can put over the capsules, I should try that, treble attenuation going in. I also have one foam windscreen that might fit, those smooth things out well too.

The EV Raven is a terrible vocal mic in my opinion. It might do well on drums, bottom of a snare or the head of a hand drum. I'll see if I can find some way to use it that I like. So it goes.

And I found a Samson c01 at the thrift store cheap. It works fine. Another percussion mic, it sounds quite a bit like the Neat Worker Bee, another medium diameter electret condenser. It will get used.

The Audio Technica omni conference table mic got mounted into a 7 gallon plastic water container and it makes an amazing sounding kick drum with the value-added feature that you can change the tone quite a bit by how you strike the "kick head" and the other surfaces that offer higher pitches. That's fun, I'll use it.


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